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Sweet & Savory Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

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I canned a new recipe, and it was a success! If it wasn’t a success, I wouldn’t be here sharing the recipe with you lol.

Spring is here, and I have been cleaning out my freezer. During this freezer spring-cleaning, I found a bag of rhubarb that needed to be used, so I looked in my ball canning cookbook for a recipe. I didn’t want to make jams because I already have so much dandelion jam from last spring still in the cellar. I found the perfect rhubarb recipe: Victorian Style Rhubarb Barbeque Sauce. Rhubarb and barbeque?! I guess this kind of barbeque sauce is called “rhubarbeque.” I had to give it a try, and it might be my new favorite barbeque sauce!

Because I use barbeque sauce a lot, especially in the summer. I figured this would be a good use of my time and kitchen resources to build my food storage with foods I actually eat and enjoy!

Making BBQ Sauce from scratch 

Initially, I was hesitant about preserving barbecue sauce through canning. After all, it's readily available and affordable at the store, so why bother making it from scratch? Well, I had an abundance of rhubarb that I needed to use up AND I love making food from scratch. Making food from scratch like barbeque sauce allows you to control the ingredients and know what exactly is going into your food. The store-bought variety often includes additional ingredients such as corn syrup that I absolutely don’t want to eat! This doesn’t include the other additives and preservatives store-bought barbeque sauce might have.

I absolutely love to make sauces from scratch because I feel like the taste exceeds anything you can buy from the store. I have made tangy barbeque sauce before, and it has been my go-to for easy to make barbeque sauce recipes. Today’s easy barbeque sauce canning recipe is right up there in my favorites now! It is different from my tangy barbeque sauce because of the sugar I added for preservation—it made it sweet. I don’t know about you, but I love sweet! I will be pairing this with my pulled pork sliders this week.

The most important part of barbeque sauce are the spices you put into it and how sweet you like it. Because this is a canning recipe, you have to adhere to how much sugar the recipe calls for because the sugar helps with the preservation when canning food. On the other hand, you CAN mix up the spices if you ensure that you have the same quantities. For example, this recipe calls for 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 teaspoon allspice, so 4 teaspoons total. This recipe is rather sweet, if you would rather have a savory barbeque sauce, you can swap in mustard powder and paprika. It is up to you!

Special note: Avoid using sage when canning because it will become bitter and make whatever you canned not taste great!

How do you can BBQ sauce?

You will need a water bath canner and will need to follow the directions of an approved canning recipe. I love my Ball Canning Cookbook so much because of the variety of easy canning recipes.

To make barbeque sauce, you will need to make the sauce according to the recipe. If canning, ensure that it is a safe and approved canning recipe. While you are preparing the sauce, make sure to sterilize the lids and jars for canning.

How do you sterilize jars for water bath canning?

For water bath canning, you need to sterilize jars. For pressure canning, you do not. This specific BBQ sauce recipe is for the water bath canner, so you can follow these steps to sterilize jars and lids for water bath canning:

  1. Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and rinse them thoroughly.
  2. Place the jars and lids in a large pot and cover them with water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low to keep the jars and lids hot until you're ready to use them.

Note: If you're using new jars and lids, you can skip the sterilization step and simply wash them in hot, soapy water and rinse them thoroughly before use.

Be careful and don’t cook the lids and rings like I do in my YouTube video LOL. 

Special note: I changed up the recipe a bit! I did three things:

1) I didn’t add the raisins because I do not like raisins,

2) I used apple cider vinegar as well as white vinegar, and

3) I used molasses and cane sugar to make brown sugar! I am happy with these changes because the raisins would have made it even sweeter and using apple cider vinegar gave it a meltier flavor! Using 1 tablespoon of molasses per 1 cup of sugar makes brown sugar from scratch, and the resulting taste is just like brown sugar but meltier.

Canned items like these make fun and easy homestead gifts. You can decorate the lids and add little bonnets. This recipe is a winner—I was even eating it with a spoon! That’s how good this homemade canned barbeque sauce is.

Adjusting canning time for elevation

Here are the general time adjustments for water bath canning based on elevation:

1. For elevations between 0-1,000 feet: No adjustment is needed. Follow the recommended processing times in the recipe.

2. For elevations between 1,001-3,000 feet: Increase processing time by 5 minutes.

3. For elevations between 3,001-6,000 feet: Increase processing time by 10 minutes.

4. For elevations between 6,001-8,000 feet: Increase processing time by 15 minutes.

5. For elevations above 8,000 feet: Increase processing time by 20 minutes.

However, it's important to note that the specific adjustment needed may vary depending on the recipe and the type of food being canned. Always refer to a reliable canning resource, such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation or the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, for recommended processing times and altitude adjustments.

Let’s get cookin and cannin!

Sweet & Savory Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

I absolutely love to make sauces from scratch because I feel like the taste exceeds anything you can buy from the store.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 8 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice


  • To prepare for canning, first wash your jars and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly and then place them in your water bath canner to sterilize by bringing them to a simmer. Always use new lids to ensure safe preservation.
  • In a pot, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, onion, vinegar, salt, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-high and boil gently, continuing to stir frequently until the ingredients break down and form a thinner consistency BBQ sauce.
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until it's smooth, or omit this step if you prefer a chunkier sauce with pieces of rhubarb and onion.
    Ladle the hot sauce into the Mason jars, leaving ½-inch headspace at the top. Use a knife to slide around the inner edge of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Adjust the headspace as needed, then wipe the rims clean, place the lids on top, and screw the bands on.
  • Place the jars in the canner and bring the water to a boil. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, adding time for your elevation if needed. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let the jars cool in the canner for another 5 minutes. Finally, remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool completely before storing.
  • Enojy!
Sweet & Savory Rhubarb BBQ Sauce